Sunday, October 31, 2010

Twitter for the handmade set - Simple ways to leverage twitter for artisans

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
Technology and crafting seem like two things separated by oceans. That is pretty far from the truth in this digital age. Used with a some imagination, twitter in particular can be a huge boost to artisans. Since this blog is specifically for handbag makers, here's a few ideas to get the bird talking about your bags.

#1 The Tweet-away
Make up a few small items such as key fobs, small zip pouches, credit card wallets, bookmarks, cell phone pouches, or key lanyards. Little things that will easily fit into a standard envelope and only cost you a stamp or three to send out. Ideally, these items can be made from scraps and bits of trim too small for your bags. Take pictures of each item and host tweet-aways.

A tweet-away is an instant giveaway conducted via twitter. You can ask people a trivia question from a listing in your shop or a recent post on your blog or simply do a "tweeter #17 wins" race to respond. You could also ask people to like your facebook page or signup to your blog. There are a lot of variations on this. Just poke around for ideas.

Hints for a successful tweet-away.
Use twitpic or another picture hosting service to let people easily see what they can win.

Choose a random time to conduct it ... and always make it a surprise.

Set a time limit to respond - usually 10-20 minutes.

Be logged into your twitter account and actively retweet the giveaway about every 4 minutes or so. Answer any questions quickly and politely.

Send out the prize the same or the next day and ask your winner to provide a sentence or two for your blog.

a few more tips on tweet-aways are on my blog.

#2 Highlight Cooperation and use of handmade materials
This tip is a little more indirect .. a little less direct sell and a little more goodwill. I often make bags using materials I have purchased from other handmade artisans. In the holiday spirit of sharing, tweet about the great hand-painted, recycled fabric you used and the artisan who made it, or the unique ceramic charms and where they came from or the hand-carved maple buttons. These kind of public kudos not only spread goodwill, they give you a credibility as someone who walks the walk ... not only do you sell handmade goods, but you support other artisans. In addition, remember it is easy for us in the handmade world to tell hand-painted or hand-dyed fabric from stuff bought at Walmart. The general public does not have this skill. Pointing out the quality of your materials and giving your work a back story adds to its uniqueness and value in the mind of a potential buyer.

#3 Twitter Coupons
Offer a discount ONLY to your twitter followers and only for a limited time ... say 48 hours. Use a service like socialoomph to schedule tweets during that time to remind people of the offer. Mention it on your other points of contact, but give the actual code only via twitter.

#4 Highlight your buyer feedback
Cruise through your etsy or artfire feedback or comments you've gotten on your blog and tweet them out with a link to the listing, noting that you make items to order or can recreate a similar item in just a few days.  When other people say something is good, we as consumers believe it more easily. We also like to feel as if we are part of the "in crowd." This is why a lot of marketers use testimonials or case studies.

I'll bet all of you have some ideas. Please share with the class below.

Additional reading:
26 tips for enhancing your tweets
Using Twitter to promote your handmade products
Twitter Search: How to directly market your art on Twitter 
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